Since 1974, June 5th has been a day for global action to protect the environment. Celebrated in over 100 countries, the UN’s World Environment Day raises awareness on urgent issues such as plastic pollution, sustainable consumption, wildlife crime, and climate change. The day empowers people around the world to create change as individuals and communities. This year’s host country, China, is bringing attention to a pressing global crisis: air pollution.
Here in Utah, we have our own struggles with air quality — mainly with seasonal issues such as PM2.5 pollution in the winter and ozone pollution in the summer. Across the Beehive State, air pollution leads to increased illness. Salt Lake City and other communities statewide are working to improve air quality and the State’s Department of Air Quality has led many efforts over the years to reduce pollution.
But more is needed.
In honor of #WorldEnviornmentDay and the goal to #BeatAirPollution, here are some easy ways we can all be part of the effort to improve indoor and outdoor air quality.
This week’s Clean Air Champion tip is about wood burning.
Even though burning wood is festive at this time of year, it’s a significant polluter (estimated to contribute 5-26% of total pollution on a winter day, according to a presentation from Dr. Kelly Kerry to UCAIR).
Before you burn, make sure to check to see if it’s a no burn day.
The Salt Lake County Health Department prohibits burning solid fuel in fireplaces or wood burning stoves and bans outdoor fires (including bonfires, patiopits, and charcoal grill fires) on days that the State of Utah designates as either mandatory or voluntary air action (no burn) days.
As you may know, Salt Lake City has partnered with the Healthy Babies Bright Futures alliance to conduct an assessment and implement approaches to reduce exposure to certain chemicals deemed most risky for babies in their first 1,000 days of development.
Now we’re asking you to join us!Take the pledge to be Pesticide Free in your landscaping. You’ll get a yard sign, as well as a helpful toolkit for how to use organic methods at your home or businesses.
“Pesticide Free SLC” is a public campaign to educate and encourage Salt Lake City residents and businesses to phase out chemical pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer use from their landscaping. Read more
Potential contamination from dry cleaning operations at the VA Hospital in the 1970s have led the EPA and Veterans Administration to study and seek remediation for a PCE groundwater plume on the east bench in Salt Lake City. The plume is located generally within the area bounded by 500 South and Michigan Avenue and between Guardsman Way and 1100 East.
“PCE contamination was first detected in this area in the 1990s during routine sampling of the Mount Olivet Cemetery irrigation well. As a result of PCE discovery at this location, the PCE plume was referred to as the Mount Olivet Cemetery Plume. Subsequent investigations proceeded, including a 1995 report by the State of Utah. This report was unable to determine where the PCE originated, but pointed out that the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center (VAMC) operated a dry cleaning facility that utilized PCE on site in the late 1970s.”
Have you ever heard the saying, “Behind every great kid is a parent who is sure they are doing something wrong”?
I remember when my twins were born and I became a mom. As many new parents do, I always erred on the side of caution. I wanted them to be safe, healthy and happy. Living in a world that feels so big and scary at times, it can be a daunting task to protect our children. Even if you are not a parent yourself, most people have children in their lives that they care for and want to keep safe. Child safety is a common goal we can all agree on.
It can be overwhelming to think that every little thing could be a danger to your child – whether it’s the safety rating of a car seat or the toxicity levels in everyday household items. Sometimes it is hard to know which dangers merit caution and which ones are due to overactive paranoia.
At this time, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the site’s potentially responsible party, is headed into a critical step of the Superfund process called the Remedial Investigation Report. Two critical assessments for the community—a Public Health Assessment (PHA) and Risk Assessment (RA)—will be included in this report. Attend the Wednesday, October 26th PCE Plume meeting to become informed and engaged at this critical juncture. Learn, recommend and have questions answered about:
• What is a Superfund Public Health Assessment and Risk Assessment?
• Why is a public health assessment required?
• When the Public Health Assessment will be conducted
• Site specific information on Risk Assessment
• How Risk Assessment factors into project decisions and,
• Differences between the Public Health Assessment and Risk Assessment
Mr. David Dorian – Environmental Health Scientist – Regional Representative for Region 8
Mr. Mike Novak – Senior Technologist at CH2M
HOSTED BY: Advocates for VA Groundwater Plume Resolution – a COMMUNITY ADVISORY GROUP (CAG) for 700 South 1600 East Federal Superfund Site. Barbara Jones, Chair.
Heidi Gerbracht, Bright Cities National Program Director, joined us in mid-July to meet with Mayor Jackie Biskupski, department heads, and several community organizations & agencies, to begin assessing the current risks, priorities and opportunities related to neurotoxic chemical exposures in our City.
Mayor Biskupski meets with Heidi Gerbracht, Bright Cities National Program Director.
Next steps include engaging in a public process to educate the community, as well as creating a final plan to reduce or eliminate the impact of these dangerous chemicals on babies’ brains.